How to Grow & Care for Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon

Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is also called the Hoya Black Dragon. The plant gets its name from its stunning black and dark purple flowers with pink middles.

From its name, you can easily tell that is it a cultivar of the more popular Hoya pubicalyx.

Originating from the Philippines, the plant is a vining epiphyte whose natural growth habit is to climb up trees in the forest.

As such, it does very when you give it a trellis, moss pole or wire to go up on.

Like many other hoyas, the lack Dragon’s most attractive features are its leaves and blooms.

It produces long vines that can get bushy if you let them keep going. These stems feature green, oval shaped leaves that are a bit narrow and have a distinct midrib where the sides fold up a bit.

The leaves also get thicker and have a glossy appearance as the plant matures.

Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon Plant Care

Hoya Black Dragon Light Requirements

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon benefits most from bright, indirect light. This will allow it to grow faster and produce more foliage.

Just as importantly, exposing it to some direct light, especially that in the morning (from the east) helps it bloom.

On the other hand, you want to avoid low light if possible. While the plant will tolerate this environment, it reduces its ability to flower.

So, if you want your Hoya Black Dragon to produce blossoms, keep it in a well-lit location.

That said, avoid too much strong, intense light. Similarly, don’t let it get exposed for more than 1-2 hours of direct mid-day or afternoon sun. It won’t be able to tolerate too much of this over a long period.

And if you leave it in this environment, it leaves will lose their waxy texture, change in color and even get burnt.

In case you don’t get  a lot of natural light in your home, consider artificial lights. The Hoya Black Dragon grows perfectly well under grow lights.

Again, keep it a safe distance from the light source. The bulbs do emit heat. And since the plant will need at least 12 hours of daily exposure, you want to keep it 8 to 12 inches away from the bulbs. Otherwise, the leaves can burn as well.

Outside, partial shade is ideal. Keep it away from the harsh afternoon sun.

 

Temperature

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is a tropical houseplant. As such, it enjoys warm climate all year round. In fact, it originates from the Philippines where there are no winters.

There, you pretty much get 2 seasons year, sunny and rainy.

Sunny weather is warm to scorching hot depending on the time of year. On the other hand, the rainy season runs from August to October. And it usually brings typhoons (which are the Pacific Ocean’s equivalent of hurricanes). Thus, there’s a good amount of flooding that happens there when strong rains come.

So, indoors the Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon enjoys temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not mind things staying in the 70s and 80s.

Instead, be more wary about the cold as it is not accustomed to it.

During the coldest time of the year in the Philippines, temperature only drops to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit or so.

Therefore, avoid leaving the plant in 50 degree conditions and below.

 

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Humidity

The Hoya Black Dragon thrives in high humidity. Again, this comes from its native habitat.

Since the Philippines is located just above the equator, its main weather is hot and humid. This is why a shirt, shorts or jeans are usually the clothing of choice there even during wintertime.

Anything more will leave you sweating bullets.

The good news is that the leaves of the plant are semi-succulent. If you look closely, you’ll see that they are a little thicker than other houseplants.

This is because it stores some water there. Thus, allowing the Hoya Black Dragon to tolerate some drought and also lower humidity.

That said, its leaves are nowhere near as thick as most other hoyas.

Therefore, you do want to be wary of dry air as this can cause the tips of the plant’s leaves to get dry and crispy.

This is a sign that humidity is too low for its liking. And it is a good idea to help it out.

The simplest ways to boost humidity around the plant are:

  • Mist it a few times a week
  • Use a humidifier
  • Place it on a pebble tray
  • Group it with other houseplants
  • Move it to the bathroom

 

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How Often to Water Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon

As mentioned in the previous section, the Hoya Black Dragon can take a bit of drought. Additionally, the plant is an epiphyte.

Therefore, you don’t need to water it too often.

In the summer, it only needs watering about once a week. During winter, cut that back to once very 13 to 21 days depending on how cold and dark the weather gets.

The colder the climate and the less light there is, the longer it takes for soil to dry. And ideally, you’ll want to wait for the soil to almost dry out before adding more water in the winter.

That’s because the plant is resting during this time. So, it does not need a lot of moisture.

More importantly, too much water puts it at risk of root rot.

In general, the Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is sensitive to overwatering. So, you want to avoid watering too often. Instead, wait until part of the soil has dried before adding more.

  • If you’re an aggressive “water-er”, try to wait until the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out. This is your minimum level before you add more. Otherwise, it puts the roots at risk of ending up sitting in too much water (which leads to root rot).
  • Otherwise, you can wait until the soil is dry 50% to 75% dry before adding more water. This leaves the roots with enough moisture to keep them hydrated. And it keeps you a safe distance from overwatering.

The simplest way to tell is to stick your finger into the soil and feel up to where moisture is. You can likewise use a wooden stick and check where the wet area reaches.

Other growers will life the pot up to tell. A light container means the soil is on the dry side. A heavier pot means the soil is still moist.

 

Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon Potting Soil

The best soil for the Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is loose, airy, and well-draining. You can likewise add some compost to supplement the soil with nutrients.

Because the plant is an epiphyte in its natural habitat, it will do just as well without soil. in the jungle, it lives on trees, clinging onto them. As such, its roots get a lot of airflow. They likewise dry quickly after getting drenched by the rain.

Therefore, the best way to water the plant is to soak it until the soil is saturated. Stop once the water starts trickling down from the holes at the bottom of the pot.

After that, immediately let the soil drain. You want the excess moisture to drain completely.

Ideally, I don’t like the roots to stay wet for more than 15-30 minutes. So, the soil needs to drain well enough to get rid of this excess moisture within this timeframe.

And the only way to do that is to use well-draining potting mix.

You can use perlite, pumice, orchid bark, fir bark, pine bark, charcoal or vermiculite just to name a few ingredients that help with drainage.

You can use:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part orchid mix
  • 1 part perlite

Or, if you want to be minimalistic, you can go with:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part orchid bark

Don’t forget to use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom so the liquid can get out of the container after draining.

Does the Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon Climb?

Yes. In the forests of the Philippines, the Hoya Black Dragon is often found attached to trees. It is a climbing epiphyte with vining stems.

Therefore, the closes thing you can give it to its natural habitat is some kind of support to climb on indoors. You can use a trellis, shaped wire, moss pole or something similar.

That said, it will do just as well hanging in baskets (which is one of the most popular ways to display it) as well as in a pot.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon needs nutrients. If you add compost or worm castings to the potting soil you can reduce the amount of fertilizer you use or not use it at all (depending on how you apply the compost).

That said, most growers will feed the plant to make sure it gets enough nutrients to support its growth.

However, avoid overdoing it as the plant is a light feeder.

So, it does not need a ton of fertilizer nor does it need to be fed all the time.

Instead, fertilizer your Hoya Black Dragon once every 2 weeks during spring and summer. You don’t need to do so in the fall and winter.

Apply a water soluble balanced fertilizer at half strength during this time. It is easy to dilute liquid products since all you need to do is add more water.

 

Flowers / Blooms

Besides the beautiful vining stems and green foliage of the plant, one of the things many people look forward to is the Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon’s blooms.

These are unique and stunning because of their colors.

Although small, the flowers grow in clusters. And you have anywhere from 10 to 30 individual blossoms per cluster. They are also fragrant producing a sweet scent.

Each the flowers have a star-shape and they are black and purple in color with a pink center. If you look closely the flowers are fuzzy as well as they have tiny hairs.

The plant’s flowers usually show up around late spring and through the summer. They will likewise last around 7 days.

 

Pruning

When it comes to pruning your Hoya Black Dragon there are two things to consider.

First, is the plant itself.

Basically, it is a vining plant whose stems will grow longer. The leaves are not overly large so you don’t have to worry about them. Instead, it is the stems, their length and how tidy they stay.

If you keep it in hanging basket or allow it to climb, it will require very little pruning on your part outside of minor trimming here and there to keep it looking nice and neat.

But, in a pot, you may need to trim the long vines a bit more.

So, for the most part, it is all about aesthetics.

On the other hand, the second part is more important (at least if you want the plant to flower).

Here, you don’t want to prune the peduncles from where the flowers grow out of even after the blooms have faded.

That’s because new flowers will keep growing from the same old peduncles season after season. Their perennial nature means if you cut or remove the peduncles, you eliminate any further potential blossoms growing from there.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon

The easiest way to propagate the Hoya Black Dragon is through stem cuttings. You can use the stems you pruned so don’t throw them away when trimming the plant.

Additionally, you can root the cuttings in water, sphagnum moss or soil as well. So, you have  a few options to choose from as well.

The best part about stem propagation is that it has a very high success rate.

The most important thing it to pick a healthy stem with at least 3 or more leaves. You’ll need at least 1-2 leaf nodes to make sure the cutting can root. Without nodes, it will never grow into a new plant.

If you can take a cutting with aerial roots all the better. That’s because aerial roots not only increase success rates, but they also speed up the growth process of the new plant.

In fact, new white roots will grow out of the woody aerial roots much quicker than they do the nodes in water. So, if you do get a stem with air roots, water propagation is the way to go.

That said, with water propagation, you do need to eventually move the cutting to soil. You can do so once the roots are at least 1-2 inches long.

If you don’t want to go through the extra work of transferring from water to soil, you can likewise plant the cutting straight into fresh, well-draining potting mix.

In around 4-6 weeks the cutting should grow enough roots to support the new plant’s development.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon enjoys being a bit root bound. Therefore, you don’t need to repot it too often. In most cases, it will only need repotting once every 2 years.

So, like pruning, repotting is a low maintenance task. They are just some of the reasons why the plant is easy to care for once you get a hang of how to water it.

The only time to repot the plant is when you see roots coming out from the bottom of the drainage holes.

When this happens, you can wait until spring arrives to repot.

  • Choose a container that is 1-2 inches wider and have some fresh well-draining potting mix ready as well.
  • Then, take the plant out of its container.
  • Be careful here as the plant does not have strong or extensive root system. Additionally, you may need to deal with the long vines (if you’ve allowed it to grow in length).
  • Once out, check the roots for any rotting, damage, pets problems or potential issues. Fix them if needed.
  • Also brush off excess soil and dirt. If you see roots tangled up, separate them by hand as well.
  • Next, prepare the new pot and fill up about 30% to 40% with the fresh potting mix.
  • Then, place the root ball in and add more soil to stabilize the plant in its new home.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is not considered to be toxic to humans and animals. Therefore, it is safe to keep around cats, dogs and young children.

Still, you want to keep an eye out whenever they’re near the plant since ingesting the leaves or stems can still cause the usual issues like gagging, vomiting and digestive discomfort, although not toxicity or poisoning worres.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Hoya Black Dragon Pests

The Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon is prone to pests. Although you may never experience them so don’t stress too much about them.

Instead, just inspect it regularly.

The most common pests to try and attack the plant include mealybugs, aphids and thrips. In general, sap sucking insects are what you want to watch out for.

As much as possible, try to catch them early as they’re easier to get rid of when few. Additionally, they’ll populate really quickly so they can grow into an infestation quite fast.

You can spray them off with a light stream of water.

I like to use the sink for smaller plants, the shower for larger ones. You can also use a garden hose and take it outside.

Alternatively, you can apply neem oil or horticultural oil as well.

If you use the concentrated version, make sure to dilute it enough. Otherwise too much concentration will damage the plant (or kill It) in the process.

You can directly apply if you get the pre-mixed spray version.

 

Diseases

The Hoya Black Dragon is quite hardy to diseases. Unfortunately, man-made problems can lead to diseases as well.

The most common are overwatering, using heavy, water-retentive soils, watering late in the day or wetting the leaves.

In short, too much moisture.

Excess moisture puts your Hoya Pubicalyx Black Dragon at risk of bacterial and fungal infections. It also increases the risk of root rot.

So, avoid watering too often or waterlogging the soil. Also, don’t leave the leaves wet for long periods.